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By: Eric Van Dril
It’s July, still more than a month from the official start of Quincy Patterson II‘s junior year at Solorio, and the 6-foot-4 quarterback already holds scholarship offers from Illinois, Penn State and New Mexico.
Patterson is the hottest recruit in the Chicago Public League — a player on the verge of becoming its next star quarterback.
But who is Patterson? How has receiving scholarship offers changed him? Has it? Also, why will Patterson start on defense for Solorio this season?
WHAT MAKES PATTERSON SPECIAL
Patterson just turned 16, but he is already 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. He estimated that he can throw a football about 65-70 yards. Patterson can also run the ball effectively, as defenses in the Chicago Public League have seen in each of the last two seasons.
Physically, Patterson has all the tools to be a lethal dual-threat quarterback.
But it’s been his willingness to work that has stood out to Matt Erlenbaugh, who was named head coach at Solorio in December.
“What I really like about him is just how humble and hardworking he is,” Erlenbaugh said. “A lot of guys I see with his type of talent can just kind of be head cases and talk about themselves, but what I really like about him is it’s always about the team. … He’s always just working to get better himself, and get his teammates better. And with his work ethic — I’ve coached kids who went on to the NFL, and he’s got a better work ethic than them.”
Solorio running back Justin Members, a rising senior, agreed with Erlenbaugh. He called Patterson one of the hardest workers he’s ever seen.
Patterson goes to as many football camps as he can, Members said after he and Patterson took part in the Great Lakes Showcase at College of DuPage on Saturday, July 23.
He also puts in extra work.
After Solorio finishes its conditioning, for instance, Patterson will run extra sprints. Doing so helps prepare him to play offense and defense. It also sets an example for the Sun Warriors’ other players to follow.
“Quincy, he’s one of the leaders, (as well as) myself,” Members said. “If I see him slacking, or he sees me slacking, we’re both pushing each other. If we see any of our teammates slacking — and we know they can do way better than what they’re doing — we’re going to push them to their limit.”
Patterson has also been working with renowned quarterback coach Jeff Christiansen of Throw It Deep. Those sessions, which take place in suburbs like Hinsdale and Riverside, have helped Patterson improve his mechanics.
“Everything starts from the feet up,” Patterson explained, when asked how Christiansen has helped him improve. “Rather than just worrying about throwing it, you’ve got to get your feet right. If your feet are messed up, then the ball just sails or goes straight down. Everything is about the feet, basically.”
Patterson, whose GPA is just a shade under 4.0, has become a more accurate passer this summer.
His throws were consistently on target at the Great Lakes Showcase. The way Patterson can deliver on-target corner routes is an example of how his accuracy has improved from freshman year to now, Members said.
In addition to all of that, Patterson devours film on hudl.com.
Just ask Solorio offensive coordinator Bill Ziemba.
“I share an office with our offensive coordinator,” Erlenbaugh said. “He’s been here (at Solorio) now for three years, working with Quincy, and he just tells me stories where it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and he gets a call or text from Quincy. Like, ‘Hey, coach, did you see this coverage, where they’re doing this?’ Bill’s just like, ‘Quincy, go to bed. You’ve got school in the morning. We’ll talk about it in the morning.’ But he’s just one of those guys who just loves film. You can tell he’s thirsty to learn more. … He’s definitely hungry, and he’s not afraid to ask questions and learn more.”
HOW PATTERSON HAS HANDLED HIS SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS
Patterson reacted the same way after each offer, Erlenbaugh said. He was like a little kid — one who is really excited about the offer — but unchanged.
Not only does Patterson continue to work extremely hard, he doesn’t boast or brag about the scholarship offers he’s received or the interest he’s drawing from other Division I programs.
In fact, “he won’t talk to his teammates about his offers or what he has the ability to do past high school,” Erlenbaugh said. “That’s something that he doesn’t talk about with the guys. It’s unique because you see a lot of guys where that’s all they’re talking about. He’s just focused on this season, and working for a conference championship.”
Patterson said that the experience of receiving scholarship offers was like a dream come true — one that was kind of overwhelming at first.
“Then, I guess you could say I started to take it with a grain of salt,” Patterson said, “because I realized that an offer doesn’t necessarily guarantee a spot on the team. They could easily revoke it, and then I won’t have it anymore. I kind of don’t think about it as an offer. I think about it as an opportunity. I’ve just got to (take advantage) of the opportunity.”
Patterson wants more opportunities.
“I’m still very hungry for more,” he said. “I guess you could say you can never get enough offers. One offer comes, then another. The next thing you know, you can go to any school in the country. That’s kind of what I’m pushing to be. And I’m not there yet.”
PATTERSON WANTS TO, AND WILL, PLAY DEFENSE THIS YEAR
Patterson will have immense value in Solorio’s read-option attack, which has the potential to be among the most high-powered offenses in the Chicago Public League.
But Patterson figures to have a similar level of value on the other side of the ball.
Patterson, who started at safety a year ago, is slated to be the Sun Warriors’ starting middle linebacker this season.
It’s a position he wants to play.
The reason is simple.
“The way I think about it is just any way to help my team win,” Patterson said. “If they need me at left tackle, I’ll play left tackle.”